Facebook Icon podcast icon Join our mailing list Icon

Image for Poca Logo
Image for sovietsoldiers.jpg

Central Asia Initiative Film Screening: "Koryo Saram: The Unreliable People" (2006)

With panel discussion and introduction by Co-director Y. David Chung.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Harry & Yvonne Lenart Auditorium
Fowler Museum
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Image for Calendar Button

In 1937, Stalin began a campaign of massive ethnic cleansing and forcibly deported everyone of Korean origin living in the coastal provinces of the Far East Russia near the border of North Korea to the unsettled steppe country of Central Asia 3700 miles away.  This story of 180,000 Koreans who became political pawns during the Great Terror is the central focus of this film. With political scientist and executive producer Meredith Jung-En Woo and cameraman and co-director Matt Dibble, Chung traveled to film the survivors of the deportation and their descendants who still live in Kazakhstan today.

Koryo Saram (the Soviet Korean phrase for Korean person) tells the harrowing saga of survival in the open steppe country and the sweep of Soviet history through the eyes of these deported Koreans, who were designated by Stalin as an "unreliable people" and enemies of the state. Through recently uncovered archival footage and new interviews, the film follows the deportees' history of integrating into the Soviet system while working under punishing conditions in Kazakhstan, a country which became a concentration camp of exiled people from throughout the Soviet Union.

Today, in the context of Kazakhstan's recent emergence as a rapidly modernizing, independent state, the story of the Kazakhstani-Koreans situated within this ethnically diverse country has resonance with the experience of many Americans and how they have assimilated to form new cultures in our world of increasingly displaced people.

Y. David Chung will introduce the film in person.

The film will be preceded by a panel discussion on "Enforced Migration and Sedentarization in Modern Central Asia."


Central Asia Initiative

At a time when Central Asia is of growing consequence to the global economy and security, the Asia Institute has launched an initiative to foster greater understanding of the history and the significance of Central and Inner Asia within the campus and broader academic communities and among the general public. The organizing theme for this first year will be "Mobility and Governability." Highlighting the significance of Central Asia as a distinct geographic region which has been the site of repreated migrations and conquests from earliest times, this rubric  encourages reflection on how the mobility of Central Asian peoples has allowed both for conquest within and outside Central Asia, and for the ungovernability that has faced occupiers from outside the region.

More information about the Asia Institute Central Asia Initiative 


Parking is available for $8.00 in Lot 4.

Cost : Free

(310) 825-0007

Sponsor(s): Center for Korean Studies, Asia Pacific Center, Program on Central Asia